Online Climbers Avalanche Course

Module 1 Description - Preliminary Information

Main Course Description Page

Select Feedback (from the full Level 1 course)

This feedback is from the full Level 1 course which has been available longer and served more students. As we obtain more feedback from the Climbers Awareness class we will update this. Comments on topics not covered in this course have been omitted below.

  • The average student rating for this module, out of 10, is: 8.8
  • The percentage of students who felt all objectives were met is: 100%
  • Select Student Comments:
    • As a retired university professor I am interested in all methods of teaching and evaluation. In my opinion, this format is excellent.
    • The material was concise and reasonable.
    • Excellent overall introduction. Both to teaching style and the module.
    • The lesson kept my interest and was presented in an understandable informative way.
    • Materials were well put together and easy to follow.
    • The exercises were easily studied and applied.
    • The assessments were good.


This is the introductory module for the Climbers Avalanche ClassOpens in New Window developed and supported by AlpenProOpens in New Window and offered here in the Avalanche InstituteOpens in New Window. This module covers some basic preliminary material, the differences between this climbing course and the full Level 1 course, and the nature of the avalanche issue from a climbers perspective.

This is basic background material and is therefore presented almost entirely as PDF notes and simple text. This is not representative of the rest of the course modules which use more robust html, links for case studies, graphics, and other forms of presentation.

Although the material in this module is basic it is important to forming a sound foundation. Students are often assumed to know some of this, despite the course being entirely entry level. Or the material is presumably picked up in the process of learning other topics. AlpenPro originally decided that the best approach, and one which would not compromise the already tight time constraints of a traditional weekend format, would be to send some short basic notes to students in advance. This was done via email using pdf files, and the manner of presentation here is much the same as it was in the traditional course format. Although this format also incorporates assessment quizzes throughout.


  • Become familiar with the AlpenPro workbook formats and features
  • Know the basic terms which describe avalanches and slabs
  • Know the elements of the avalanche triangle
  • Differentiate between objective and human factors
  • Appreciate the heightened importance of certain factors such as goal orientation in climbing
  • Appreciate the fact that climbing terrain is avalanche terrain
  • Understand the unique nature of the exposure to the hazard in climbing
  • Understand the difference between this course and the full Level 1
  • Know what will not be covered in this course and why


The first short section introduces the course and workbook.

This main module includes these topics:

  • Course differences from Level 1
  • Basic avalanche related terms
  • The Avalanche Triangle
  • Terrain Comments
  • Comments on Climates, the Danger Scale
  • Climbing specific issues

The concluding section wraps up the module, covers how to continue, and has an evaluation.

Each of these is broken down further into sub-topics within the course, the Outline on this page shows more detail.


Climbers Course Module 1 - Introduction - Outline
Welcome, Instructions
Tips for success
Differences from Level 1

Basic Terminology

The Avalanche Triangle

Comments on Climbing Terrain

Climates, The Avalanche Danger Scale

  • Comments on Relevance in late spring
  • Snowpack Climates
  • Avalanche Danger Scale


  • Climbing specific issues and challenges
  • What the courses does not cover
  • Continuing to the next modules

Human and technical Resources

This is a stand-alone course module covering very basic material.

This module has access to human resources and technical support if needed. There is a dropbox for sending documents (including messages) to other students in the module and/or an instructor, and there is always email.

Major web browsers are supported, others - including phones - are not. At least officially. Find a computer and a good place to study without distractions. If you encounter technical problems with Dokeos or with a major browser we will address the problem promptly. If we are unable to we will offer a refund. This does not apply if you are using an unsupported browser or a phone.

We will note that some students have been able to use a phone for our courses or parts of them. It may work. We just will not guarantee it.


There are quizzes incorporated into this module which allow students to check their understanding of the material. Quizzes may be taken as many times as desired, either to obtain a passing score or just to attempt to ultimately get a perfect score.

All assessments are taken and scored online in this module/course.

Successful completion of this module by passing all assessments is a prerequisite for continuing with the rest of the Climbers course.

Course material

Most of the materials included in this module are from the AlpenPro Level 1 workbook. However, some Level 1 materials have been limited or eliminated. For example the Danger Scale is not covered in detail because the advisories that use it are usually not issued during the spring climbing season. On the other hand specific commentary on climbing issues, challenges and differences has been added.